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  #1  
Old 01-01-2019, 11:38 AM
KarenB KarenB is offline
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Default What problems can arise with CF guitars?

I own wood guitars and know that actions can get higher and lower, the body can get cracked, scratched,etc. Do carbon fiber guitars have any issues? Can you repair CF guitars?

Thanks.
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Last edited by KarenB; 01-01-2019 at 02:04 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-01-2019, 01:37 PM
MiG50 MiG50 is offline
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Carbon Fiber doesn't swell or contract due to changes in temperature, humidity, or the normal climate conditions that threaten a traditional wood instrument. They can have trouble at extreme high temperatures (like 160įF or something crazy like that), since the epoxy is capable of melting, but at normal human temperatures, they're great. They are tougher and more resistant to physical abuse, but are not bullet-proof. The finish on most carbon fiber guitars is similar to the finish on traditional guitars, or sometimes automotive finishes, so they are comparable for scratches and surface repairs.

It seems like most luthiers are reluctant to work on a CF guitar, although normal repairs/mods like nuts, saddles, frets, etc. are just like wood guitars. But as CF becomes a more widely-used substance, repairs seem to be easier and more predictable to perform.

Some CF guitars have truss rods just like wood guitars, but some don't. Even the models without truss rods have proven to be extremely stable (outside the aforementioned extreme heat exposure). Action can easily be adjusted via the nut and/or saddle as necessary, so in general, the action is better than wood guitars due to their inherent stability.
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Old 01-01-2019, 02:07 PM
steelvibe steelvibe is offline
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Very well said MiG50.

I would add that the first time I picked up a carbon fiber guitar it was a RainSong Shorty. The first thing I surmised was that it was a fine instrument immediately earning my respect. Lightly built and only 4 lbs. and yet it felt solid to me. It felt good. I would never unintentionally leave it for a dog or a child to knock down or even would case it at parties so it wouldn't take an unfortunate scratch. I'm one that doesn't beat up my guitars though so I'm not the best qualified to speak on how much abuse they can really take.

But I have had them in 100+ degree heat and low 20 degree cold with zero issues, and it stays in tune. Try that with a wood guitar and you will be sorry .
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Old 01-01-2019, 06:05 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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As a rule, not many problems can occur. If the guitar is fine brand new, it will likely remain so indefinitely. Only major impact damage or exposure to extreme heat would change that.

For example, I cannot tell that the set-up on my WS-1000 has changed over the almost 18 years I've now owned it. Relief and action does not change perceptibly with medium gauge strings, medium-light, or light gauge, or in various tunings that can change the overall tension markedly. And mine does not have a truss rod either, although some of the others do. My Rainsong has been played from 105įF in summertime Idaho to 35įF around a campfire in Alaska, and has ridden in the cargo hold of an airplane at -60įF with no issues. As Steelvibe said, a CF guitar is the only one that has much chance of staying in tune as the temps change. It won't be perfect, but it will change far less than any wood guitar.
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Old 01-01-2019, 07:23 PM
jonfields45 jonfields45 is offline
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My main player, a CH-PA, has taken a lot of physical abuse and zero respect with regards to car trunk storage. It looks perfect. My last wood guitar never was treated quite so casually, but had plenty of scars to prove it had been played. CF won't pick up dings as easily as spruce or any nitro finish on any wood.

For a while I kept a thermometer in my trunk to see what I was doing to my CF guitars (Emeralds, RainSongs, and CAs) and they all seem to shrug off the 120F which appears to be the upper temperature limit here in bright summer Pennsylvania sunshine. In my engineering days, the epoxy we used for semiconductor packaging was good to 150C (300F!!!). This was the temperature we did accelerated aging tests at (1000 hours at 150C) and I imagine the stuff the guitar manufacturers use is similar (though string tension is a different usage model).

One neat thing is I've taken the tuner off my pedal board for gigging. I check my RainSong once at the beginning of a gig and it makes it to the end with no problems (at least after the strings are a day or two old). It seems to only go out of tune after the tuning machine buttons get knocked around usually during transport.
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Old 01-01-2019, 07:33 PM
KarenB KarenB is offline
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Thanks all for taking the time to thoughfully reply to my query.
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Old 01-01-2019, 07:34 PM
BT55 BT55 is offline
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I purchased a new Rainsong H-OM in 2018. The setup was horrible. After sanding the bridge saddle and some corrections on the nut the guitar is awesome. I also bought a used Emerald X20. Minor truss Rod adjustment and perfect setup. The same adjustments youíd make on wood guitars.
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Old 01-01-2019, 07:35 PM
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Methos1979 Methos1979 is offline
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If you run over a CF guitar with a car it will most likely break. I believe someone here did that once and posted a photo. Other than that, not much!
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Old 01-01-2019, 08:55 PM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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They can get...................stolen!
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Old 01-01-2019, 09:02 PM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Being able to keep them out of their case, there is more temptation to pick it up and play. So, you get less other stuff done (but, more guitar playing). I'm a retired guy, so that isn't a downside for me.
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Old 01-02-2019, 07:30 AM
Frettingflyer Frettingflyer is offline
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While I donít abuse my guitars, I did buy CF to use, and they all travel by air regularly, especially the smaller 2. On occasion they will have to be left in the car, but I donít believe they have ever been left in direct sunlight. As with others here, they handle it all, still look almost new or even mint, and stay in tune unless I grab the bag by the top and the tuners get turned.
As the Captain usually says(sorry Jim if not quoting exactly), ďcome for the convenience, stay for the toneĒ
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Old 01-02-2019, 07:55 AM
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Mbroady Mbroady is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Methos1979 View Post
If you run over a CF guitar with a car it will most likely break. I believe someone here did that once and posted a photo. Other than that, not much!

I don’t want to talk about it.
But I will say don’t blame the guitar, don’t blame the car
And don’t blame a bunch of fun loving musicians/songwriters camping out, drinking a little bit to much tequila.....that’s right, blame it on the Tequila. Falcon Ridge Folk Fest, summer of 16.

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Old 01-02-2019, 08:46 AM
btbliatout btbliatout is offline
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Not so much about problems within a guitar's playable life, but Blackbird has something going for them regarding their more sustainable Ekoa composite vs carbon fiber. Carbon fiber doesn't exactly break down naturally, and it has deminishing returns when recycled.

I can't really come up with any problems carbon fiber poses.
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  #14  
Old 01-02-2019, 08:57 AM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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I thought of one problem with CF guitars - your wood guitars will get very lonely, being so fragile and finicky, mostly confined to their cases and not "getting out to play". That has been my experience. I will always keep my two koa Taylor guitars, because I love koa so much. But at this point if all the other wooden instruments went away, life would still be good.
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Old 01-02-2019, 02:11 PM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mbroady View Post
I donít want to talk about it.
But I will say donít blame the guitar, donít blame the car
And donít blame a bunch of fun loving musicians/songwriters camping out, drinking a little bit to much tequila.....thatís right, blame it on the Tequila. Falcon Ridge Folk Fest, summer of 16.

After the initial gasp, I believe a moment of silence is in order.

I recall when you first posted that - every orifice I have puckered up. So, proof that CF guitars are not indestructible, but it takes a lot to do that kind of damage.
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